We met up with Weird Haired Mom and the two grandkids in downtown Redwood City, home of a fairly ambitious Fourth of July parade, festival, and even in this year of economic badness, fireworks. (Several cities decided not to have fireworks this year, including the 11th largest city in the US - San Jose.)
The grandkids had each "won" a goldfish, plus a bonus goldfish for WHM! Darci named hers Goldie, Riley named his Goalie, and the last reports had WHM naming hers Ghoulie. The funny bit was that the first thing I said when I saw the fish was "Them's good eating!" - Darci turned to WHM and said "I told you he would say that!" It appears I'm a bit predictable. Later Darci handed me her fish so I could watch it while they went off for more adventure, and she told me "Do NOT eat my fish." I thought she was being funny, but I think she was serious and was really concerned I would eat the thing. (Without tarter sauce? I'm not a total barbarian.)
At one point they saw a guy with a couple of 30 foot pythons sitting in the shade and stopped to talk to him. Good thing the fish were hidden out of sight. (And no, I did not take a picture of the snakes. If they wanted a picture of them they should have brought their own camera - which WHM did and no doubt has a dozen snake pictures to show for it.)
And then the Battle of the Bands started - easily my favorite part of the day. The Stanford band, dressed in whatever weirdness they can find behind dollar store dumpsters (my favorite was a drummer wearing a Sarah Palin mask and a t-shirt that said "Too Soon?"), battles the UC Davis band, who all wear blue t-shirts and wacky hats. It is a very wide open "contest" with lots of unconventional goings on - more than enough to keep even short-attention-span-challenged grandkids entertained. At one point the Stanford Tree sat behind Riley and Darci and exchanged high-fives.
You know it's a good event if a yoga class breaks out.
Here a random sax player from Stanford gives Riley another high-five. (The kid's wrist must be sore today - he was a magnet for this sort of thing.)
My favorite part of the event is when the two bands get together. You never know what to expect, and it's obvious they have a lot of fun with this.
And as an audience member, it pays to be paying attention, or else risk being startled by a trio of brass instruments being played right behind your head.
This Stanford drummer worked with this random little girl (who appears to have some sort of horrible facial disease). His stick is not really bent - he was just so close that my iPhone's "lens" added a bit of distortion (our real camera's battery died early on).
These guys played for a bit more than two hours in the moderate heat, and rarely stood still while playing. Many of them, especially that Tree thing with that contraption he wore, must be in very good shape to get through this.
You may have noticed that The Boy has not been mentioned. That is because he had to work. Or actually won the right to work. The place he works at, Yffij Ebul (not its real name), held a lottery to see who would get to work on July Fourth since most wanted to get the time-and-a-half holiday pay. The Boy was one of the "winners" and spent the day changing people's oil. The obvious question is how many people think of July Fourth as the perfect day to get their oil changed. Quite a few, it turns out.
I remember as a kid that there were several holidays when you could count on nearly every store being closed, and July Fourth was right up there with Xmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Super Bowl Sunday. But no longer. While some stores may have had shorter hours, most appeared to be open and doing OK business. I'm not sure if this is a good or bad thing. I guess for those people that need to get a pedicure, a frozen rat, a new tea kettle, or clean oil in their car, it's a good thing. And if the employees actually want to work, who am I to argue.
And the snake in The Boy's room was really craving the rat.
That's it - move along...